Thursday, October 02, 2008

thoughts from Jeremiah

I was reading in Jeremiah this morning...

Jeremiah 32:16-19
"After I had given the deed of purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, then I prayed to the Lord, saying, 'Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You, who shows lovingkindness to thousands, but repays the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. The Lord of hosts is His name; great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds;"

Jeremiah had been prophesying judgment to the God's people. They were not walking in His ways, and they were going to be evicted from their land by the Babylonians. Then the Lord told Jeremiah to buy a piece of the land, as a sign that God would bring them to repentance, and return them to their land once again. In this prayer, Jeremiah was declaring his faith that God was able to do what He promised. He knew God would indeed empower Babylon to destroy their cities and carry them off into captivity. He also knew that when the time was right, the Lord was fully capable of restoring them to the land. He knew this judgment was not unto death, but unto life. God's intention was to humble them, and restore a heart of devotion, and dependence on the One who brought them up out of Egypt. His discipline was a manifestation of His love. It was severe, but we can know with certainty that His perfect wisdom determined it to be necessary in accomplishing His good purpose.

God's response to Jeremiah's prayer is interesting,

"Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?"

He then goes on to detail the sin of Israel. Idolatry, rebellion..."They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen and receive instruction..."

His judgment was clearly justified.

But, He then immediately declares the true desire of His heart.

"Behold, I will gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in safety. "They shall be My people, and I will be their God; and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. "I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. "I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul. "For thus says the Lord, 'Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them."
Our God will never tempt us, but He will test us and discipline us as He sees fit. We must have confidence that it is always done out of His Father heart of love. Ultimately, our cooperation in faith will bring us into greater intimacy with Him, and fuller experience of His incredible purposes for our lives.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has preparedfor those who love him."

He is good, and worthy of our faith and love!